Finance Is Suffering: Suze Orman and the Noble Truths of the Buddha

| 3/31/2009 12:17:25 PM

Suze Orman BuddhaIn tough economic times, financial tips can feel like spiritual guidance. The first noble truth of the Buddha—that existence is suffering—sounds like good advice for someone trying to cut back on expenses.

Whether or not she knows it, financial guru Suze Orman doles out such spiritual-financial teachings on her CNBC show, according to John Tarrant writing for Shambhala Sun. Orman helps people understand that the origin of their suffering lies in craving—the second noble truth—firmly but lovingly pushing them away from financial lust and excess. She also teaches the third noble truth, that “a change of heart is possible,” believing in her clients ability to be reborn.

The implicit message of Orman’s show is “you are not alone,” Sandra Steingraber writes for Orion. By showing the financial information of other people anonymously, Orman’s show provides a kind of catharsis and therapy to the viewers. It also gets beyond a taboo people feel when talking about expenses or salary with their friends. This is important, according to Steingraber, due to the fact, “to borrow a phrase from the adoptee rights movement, that secrecy breeds fear. And shame. “

Neither Tarrant nor Steingraber endorse Orman’s specific financial advice. In fact, Steingraber describes her retirement plan as “to be found stiff and cold at my writing desk.” The articles are aimed at illuminating a link between people’s money and their spiritual life, and the way that Orman, according to Tarrant, “is filling a necessary role in our culture as we wake out of a dream.”

Sources: Shambhala Sun (excerpt only), Orion (excerpt only)

8/14/2010 6:39:09 AM

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11/28/2009 12:08:10 AM

Great piece of article Bennett. You have brilliantly related finance with spirituality. I want to share that business plan is essential for your enterprise. Whether your business is starting up or already established, it's the roadmap for future development. Fr my business relate issues, i always look towards FINTEL.

4/2/2009 4:34:40 PM

Thank you, Bennett, for bringing these two articles to our attention and summarizing them so palatably. It is refreshing when finances are understood as perhaps, in an admittedly weird way, a form of personal spirituality or the wrenching of our consumption patterns against limits that themselves cannot be expanded enough to ever satisfy us. Seeing Suze Orman as a conduit for spiritual-financial teachings is something to sit with, especially since her personality creates adoring fans and also people whose lips curl in disgust at the mention of her name. I think we've had a lot of really great writing on the personal stress and anxiety finances, espeically as it relates to wanting and buying and hoarding, over the last decade and a half. Bill McKibbon wrote a great article for, I think, Mother Jones a few years ago, and of course there is "Your Money or Your Life," the alternative financial bible by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin from the 1990's. This take, I think, is an interesting avenue for the personal discussion everyone is having daily about their relationship with money. . . I guess now, their relationship with Suze Orman. For context, I'm 25, I work an office job, and my REI dividend last year was greater than my savings account balance--both were not two digit numbers. Still, the more I read the more it looks like I'm not "figuring it out" from any more infantile or novice of a starting-point than the generations that surround me, especially since everything that was being done while I was in diapers doesn't seem to be doing too well. Om to Orman.

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